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ENG 101 - Communication (Suber)

This guide is designed to help with Ms. Suber's communication research paper in English 101.

2. Explore Your Topic

After examining your assignment, it's time to look for some initial background research on your topic. Try a search in the Credo Reference database to learn more about general topics related to communication.

Analyze Your Topic


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Think about the individuals or groups who would be involved. Your research could involve communication between men and women, people from other cultures, ESL students, parents and children, people from mixed generations, work colleagues, interracial couples, people with disabilities, etc. The research could be about specific people or groups of people - consider different groups based on age, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status (wealth), who may be affected (good or bad) by communication.


What kind of communication do you want to research? It could be social media, nonverbal communication, cross-cultural communication, intergenerational communication, parent-child communication, business communication, or others.  Read some background information or a summary to learn more about your topic, and then make a list of relevant factors.The background reading can also provide you with keywords, specialized vocabulary, and definitions, which will be useful for future searches.


Most of your communication topics will be relevant for the present time, so pay attention to the dates of your sources. Issues about social media, bullying in the workplace, intergenerational communication, and many other topics will require up-to-date information. Some historical material about international customs may be helpful, but the primary focus will be on more recent customs in business or personal etiquette. 


Communication impacts everyone worldwide. Many databases or internet articles may focus on countries other than the United States. It might be helpful to decide if you want to focus on the United States, or if you want your focus to be broader and include other countries


This is a really important question. Why do people care about this topic? Why is it important or controversial? What's at stake? For instance, teasing or verbal harassment in the workplace could lead to bullying or threatening behavior. Another example is that some researchers argue that the effects of mobile devices on personal relationships is harmful while face-to-face communication is more meaningful. Other topics may deal with the impact of texting on communication, especially as a distraction among cell-phone users. Your research will investigate and state an argument for the harmful or beneficial aspects of a particular type of communication.